Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Too Much Time On The Boards


Why do I do it?

I am talking about my addiction to Internet message boards. I'm an argumentative person (not in a mean, shouting sort of way) and like to debate topics and issues that are meaningful to me. But, many times, I'm just venting and not really getting anything out of an Internet conversation. Or, the person on the other end has an agenda that doesn't really involve discussing the core of an issue and how to understand others points of view. 

I know that it's basically pointless, sort of like offering me a salad at dinner, but I keep going back to it day after day. What is it about my personality, other than the arguing thing, that makes me subject myself to talking back and forth with someone that I KNOW doesn't give the first shit about my opinion or thoughts? 

"I don't know."

In case you have never visited an Internet message board, I'll explain a few things to you. First, you are going to get identified with one group or another pretty quickly and it will take some time for you to break into conversations where people actually even acknowledge you. If you are a newbie, you can expect to get ignored a bit, unless you say something really provocative. You also will have to learn who the trolls and morons are. They are the people who basically say the same things over and over, without regard to topic or try to steer the intent of a post or topic into the direction they want it to go. They show little regard for what anyone is trying to get across, they just want to make sure they get to say what they want to. Hey, it's the Internet and they won't be held to account, so they act like assholes.

One of the most important things I have learned, and it has become increasingly obvious to me lately (with the help of my cousin) is that nobody is going to change their mind about anything, just because you have a good argument and good case against them and their beliefs. Most of the time, you are just going to entrench them and that will only lead to insults and degradation. Most people do not care to learn about anything other than what they know. Most people do not want to change their minds about anything, they just want to try to win an argument by shouting down and insulting the other side, or by making absurd and many times, hypocritical points. When a person is not willing to examine their worldview, there is no sense in trying to discuss issues. It's wasted time. Many times people will start a topic that is absurd and they are just looking for a place to find a "gotcha" moment and use the 1/2 ounce of wit they have to make an ass of themselves.  Taking the obvious and running with it can be useful in a conversation. Sometimes it's good to push the envelope and carry a thought out to it's illogical conclusion. But, on a message board, it's usually fruitless.

So, with that, I am weening myself off the distraction of the Internet message board, unless it is tailored to my interests or topics that I am interested in. I frequent a sports board, that has a political forum and have enjoyed some conversations there. But, the topics are fairly random and most of the folks on the board that are regulars, have become characters. They play a role, so there is no real room for a discussion, just new ways to express an inflexible point of view that allows them to fulfill a need for recognition. I have found a couple of message boards that are relevant to where I am in my life and I'm going to use those as outlets for discussion. Those boards tend to be less about staunch ideology and more about issues and how to better understand those issues.

I've been through the fire of losing my religion, controlling my depression, and putting myself in a better state of mind and I've found that the open message forum that I've been "enjoying" is not moving me forward. It's holding me back. I need to talk with people who don't project their view of me on to everything I say, because I've been open about myself. The Internet has some great uses and there are some good people on message boards who actually want to hear differing opinions and think about them. But, sadly, the majority are not. I'd be better off if looking at naked pictures of Jenny McCarthy and pulling my tool, than putting an idea out there for someone to slap down and reject out of hand.

So, I've been challenged to not post on my regular forum for 7 days and I've accepted that challenge. There are more useful things for me to do, including;

1) the aforementioned pud pulling.....to Jenny McCarthy (goes without saying)
2) spending time with the kids chatting
3) reading 
4) watching a documentary and learning something
5) creating by writing more
6) did I mention pud pulling......oh, yeah.....that was number one right

Well, time to get busy. Anyone have a tissue?

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